Americans Helping Americans Abroad

On April 22, 2018, a complaint for civil and criminal violations against the BNP Paribas Bank was filed with the National Commission for Informatics and Liberties and the Prudential Supervisory Authority, an independent administrative authority backed by the Bank de France, which protects customers of banking institutions.

This complaint, registered by Pierre Ciric, a lawyer in New York and a client of BNP Paribas Bank, concerns a series of civil and criminal violations concerning the use of personal data of expatriate customers in the United States and subject to the U.S. FATCA law ( Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act).

According to this complaint, the BNP Paribas Bank is routinely blocking the accounts of expat-rated clients subject to the U.S. FATCA law without sufficient legal basis, and is engaged in discriminatory practices vis-à-vis expatriates trying to identify customers with "signs of Americanness". In addition, the complaint denounces the existence of systematic exchanges of personal data between Bercy and the IRS since at least 1998, without the customers of the banks were never informed of these exchanges.

According to the plaintiff, "BNP Paribas Bank, as well as many other French financial institutions, have for years been resorting to genuine harassment under the pretext of submitting to the American FATCA law. Expatriates in the United States by imposing either bank account closures or blockages of any kind, without any legal basis for their actions. These institutions must understand that the U.S. FATCA law does not issue a hunting license against expatriates for banking relationships that have often been in place for decades.

Moreover, this financial harassment is all the more problematic because Bercy seems to have been engaged for more than twenty years in the systematic exchange of personal and financial data with the IRS without informing their clients. Expatriates will be justified in demanding from the Administration and their elected representatives the reasons for this harassment, knowing that the purposes of the FATCA law, namely the exchange of personal data, had been in place for more than twenty years, without anyone deign to inform them! "

The complaint relates to the following offenses: violations of Articles 6 and 7 of Law No. 78-17 of 6 January 1978 relating to computers, files and freedoms; violation of articles 226-21 and 226-24 of the Penal Code.

You can read the original French press release here.